Happiness is Poetry: Dean Young
Tonight a look at someone who has been called one of the most influential living poets. Dean Young’s work is very good and I found him accidentally through a friend when she posted this first piece about the wolf, unfortunately I don’t have the title for this one, but it’s my favorite of all of his work. So my friends give these pieces a read and have a happy day ~ Rev Kane
The wolf appointed to tear me apart
is sure making slow work of it.
This morning just one eye weeping,
a single chip out of my back and
the usual maniacal wooden bird flutes
in the brain. Listen to that feeble howl
like having fangs is something to regret,
like we shouldn’t give thanks for blood
thirst. Even my idiot neighbor backing out
without looking could do a better job,
even that leaning diseased tree or dream
of a palsied hand squeezing the throat but
we’ve been at this for years, lying exposed
on the couch in the fat of the afternoon,
staring down the moon among night blooms.
What good’s a reluctant wolf anyway?
The other wolves just get it drunk
then tie it to a post. Poor pup.
Here’s my hand. Bite.
I don’t need to know any more about death
from the Japanese beetles
infesting the roses and plum
no matter what my neighbor sprays
in orange rubber gloves.
You can almost watch them writhe and wither,
pale and fall like party napkins
blown from a table just as light fades,
and the friends,
as often happens when light fades,
talk of something painful, glacial, pericardial,
and the napkins blow into the long grass.
When Basho writes of the long grass,
I don’t need to know it has to do with death,
the characters reddish-brown and dim,
shadows of a rusted sword, an hour hand.
Imagine crossing mountains in summer snow
like Basho, all you own
on your back: brushes, robe,
the small gifts given in parting it’s bad luck to leave behind.
I don’t want to know what it’s like to die on a rose,
sunk in perfume and fumes,
to die in summer with everything off its knees,
daisies scattered like eyesight by the fence,
gladiolas open and fallen in mud,
weighed down with opening and breeze.
I wonder what your thoughts were, Father,
after they took your glasses and teeth,
all of us bunched around you like clouds
knocked loose of their moorings,
the white bird lying over you,
its beak down your throat.
Rain, heartbeats of rain.
Everyone feels they got here from the very far away,
not just the astronauts and divorcées and poets.
Some want to lose the directions how to get back,
for others it’s a long time without cell phone reception.
Nothing here can be drawn with a ruler,
not even rain although even this high up
there are beer trucks. What feels like a hook
pulled from deep inside may be old wisteria vine.
Give it ten years. When twilight comes
from the lake in the lake’s blue mask,
you might think you’ll never have to pretend again,
from now on you’ll know yourself
but that’s only because that self is disappearing.
You’re right, when your mother died,
she did turn into a peregrine. I don’t know how
I can be so cruel to those who love me
or how they can be to me. Sometimes a rock
comes hurtling down the path
but there’s no one above you.
Lives of the Deep Sea Divers
I keep missing my stop so
I keep circling, waking up at the aquarium.
It’s going to be hard to see you again.
I can never go back.
I’ve lost my overcoat.
Years later I have the same headache.
My father says I’m doing it wrong.
I’ve killed someone by accident,
I don’t know who.
Everything smells rusted.
Voices arguing in another chamber.
Birds at seepage from a pile of rags.
I walk down an alley and someone
shouts from a window, then someone else,
I can’t move my arm.
The new diseases turn out to be
just like the old diseases except
for what happens to the nucleotides.
Still loose teeth. Still stare.
Splinter sandwich. Buzz wing.
There’s no place to wash.
When my brother died, I tried
to hold still and not rustle the cellophane.
I still couldn’t fly.
Caterpillar blood is green.
God is in twigs.
I tried to get the wet rope coiled
in the long hissing grass.